Arts Desk

9:30 Club to Debut Music Variety Show on PBS This Spring


Discovering that the show you wanted to see at 9:30 Club has sold out before you could buy tickets is a disappointing feeling. We've all been there. Starting this spring, however, you won't be forced to search YouTube for grainy clips of Father John Misty or The War on Drugs. The 35-year-old club is bringing its shows to public television audiences nationwide in the form of a new musical variety show called Live at 9:30.

Unlike Austin City Limits, which shows whole sets by artists, Live at 9:30 will feature a greater mix of programming. Along with songs, viewers will see backstage interviews with artists, short films, and comedic interludes. Each episode will be hosted by a different celebrity; the early lineup includes comedians Ralphie May and Hannibal Buress, TV writer and journalist Jill Kargman, NPR's Bob Boilen, and former Black Flag frontman Henry Rollins. Wayne White, a set designer who created many of the puppets on Pee-wee's Playhouse, will oversee the program's aesthetic design. Mounted cameras, including GoPros and an airborne cable camera, will capture the action from a variety of angles. Read more 9:30 Club to Debut Music Variety Show on PBS This Spring

To Do Today: This Is Why You’re Single, Ezra Furman, and a Mardi Gras Carnival

cl-tuesday-06It seems like everyone’s obsessed with singlehood in 2016. As the ever-divisive Valentine’s Day weekend approaches, Laura Lane and Angela Spera arrive to ease D.C.’s pain. The pals created This Is Why You’re Single as a live sketch show back in 2013, and the brand’s grown into a chart-topping podcast, book, and one of the more relatable relationship advice channels on the web. For the downtown audience, Lane and Spera will take a hilarious and sometimes all-too-honest trip through each reason so many of us are single. Read more >>> Laura Lane and Angela Spera perform at 7 p.m. at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, 600 I St. NW. $14–$32. (202) 408-3100. (Jordan-Marie Smith)


For this year’s Fat Tuesday, the French Quarter is coming to Penn Quarter. Central Michel Richard is celebrating the Mardi Gras spirit with a New Orleans-themed menu, drink specials, and a masquerade contest that could win you a free four-course dinner. The menu will feature bayou classics like clam gratin “New Orleans,” Creole oxtail soup, and jambalaya. Specialty themed drinks, like the Vieux Carre and Alligatorade, run for $13. Mardi Gras beads, masks, and other festive party favors will also be passed out. Central Michel Richard, 1001 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. (202) 626-0015. (Quinn Myers)


Chicago-based rock singer Ezra Furman performs at Rock & Roll Hotel with local pop-punk favorites BRNDA. 8 p.m. at 1353 H St. NE. $12. Read more To Do Today: This Is Why You’re Single, Ezra Furman, and a Mardi Gras Carnival

Arts Roundup: Did Bey Say Bama? Edition

Check out the bold new video for The Jarvik 6. [Bandwidth]

Here are the best D.C. entries in All Songs Considered's Tiny Desk Contest. [DC Music Download]

Wait, did Beyoncé drop the word "bama" in her new music video? [Vulture] Read more Arts Roundup: Did Bey Say Bama? Edition

To Do Today: ‘Market Symphony,’ Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra, and Lady Godiva

"Market Symphony" is a new audio installation at the National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C. The exhibition layers sound from a market in Lagos, Nigeria. The speakers are installed on enamelware trays which are often used in markets.

The sounds of our cities immediately plant us in a location, even if we’re not there physically. For Nigerian artist Emeka Ogboh, the sounds that signify home are those of the Balogun, a large open-air market in Lagos. To create “Market Symphony,” his new installation at the National Museum of African Art, Ogboh recorded hours of sound; visitors to the museum’s first sound exhibition will hear music, buses and cars, and people exchanging goods. Listen even closer and stories start to emerge. Experiencing the sounds of home from the sterile confines of a gallery thousands of miles away becomes an emotional experience for Nigerian expats, who tell Ogboh that his work moves them unexpectedly. Read more >>> The exhibition is on view daily, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., at the National Museum of African Art, 950 Independence Ave. SW. Free. (202) 633-4600. (Caroline Jones)


Chef Quinten Frye started offering Mexican tortas as part of a drop-off lunch catering service. Now, his Cocina Tortas menu is available every Monday from 5 to 10 p.m. at Songbyrd Record Cafe. The menu starts with "small bites" like chips and salsa, fried avocado, and Mexican street-style corn. Tortas include grilled citrus-marinated chicken with avocado, tomatillo, and cilantro slaw as well as the "Tortaguesa," a dry-aged beef burger with Tex-Mex queso, avocado, pickled jalapenos, and caramelized onions (with an optional sunny side up egg). For dessert, try a horchata flan or Mexican chocolate chip cookie. Cocina Tortas at Songbyrd, 2475 18th St. NW. (Jessica Sidman)


Founded in the early years of China’s economic reform, the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra is based in China’s first Special Economic Zone, the fishing-village-turned-megacity just north of Hong Kong. In the years since, Shenzhen’s weight as a cultural center has also grown, and the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra has carved a new space for itself by pairing traditional Chinese folk and orchestral music with Western classical works. The orchestra makes its Kennedy Center debut on the first day of the Lunar New Year, marking the finale of a weekend of cultural events celebrating the Year of the Monkey. 8 p.m. at 2700 F St. NW. $15–$89(Emily Walz) Read more To Do Today: ‘Market Symphony,’ Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra, and Lady Godiva

Arts Roundup: Rhizome Edition

With the Washington Ballet's Septime Webre gone, here's what the organization needs in its new director. [Post]

Meet Takoma's newest arts space, Rhizome. [Arts Desk]

D.C. voting rights, the hip-hop song. [DCist] Read more Arts Roundup: Rhizome Edition

Experimentation Over Curation: Meet Takoma’s Newest Arts Space, Rhizome


“So this room is going to be transformed into a synthesizer.”

Steve Korn is standing in the middle of what used to be a bedroom in a house in Takoma. He's holding some pieces of metal and wood and looking at a blank wall, describing what will soon be one of the first projects of Rhizome D.C.a new experimental arts space whose organizers are still putting the finishing touches on its new home a few blocks from the Takoma Metro station.

“Instead of being a synth that you play on the interface, the interface will be exploded to the room, but because it has a full programming language you can compose a piece, or multiple pieces, to be played by the room,” Korn says. There might even be a mic in the middle to capture feedback. Read more Experimentation Over Curation: Meet Takoma’s Newest Arts Space, Rhizome

Septime Webre to Leave Washington Ballet in June

webreWashington Ballet artistic director Septime Webre will leave the company when his current contract ends in June, according to a release from the dance company issued this afternoon. Webre says he has no firm future plans but that he looks forward to creating new works and staging the pieces he's choreographed for Washington Ballet with other companies around the nation. The ballet's board of directors will immediately begin a search for a new director.

Over the past 17 years, Webre has worked to connect the ballet company with other cultural institutions across D.C. He was instrumental in creating TWB@THEARC, an initiative that brings performances and dance classes to the Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus in Ward 8. He also partnered with curators at the Smithsonian American Art Museum when creating his production of Sleepy Hollow last winter. During Webre's tenure, enrollment at the Washington School of Ballet and the ballet's annual budget have grown exponentially.

Although Webre will move on when the season ends, fans of his best known work can rest easy: his adaptation of The Nutcracker will continue to be performed in D.C. in future holiday seasons.

Photo courtesy of Washington Ballet

To Do This Weekend: Guards at the Taj, Mel Brooks, and Two Inch Astronaut

cl-friday-06The marble-white wonder whose elegant domes pierce the sky in Agra, India, is Mughal emperor Shah Jahan’s memorial to his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. A monument to love and remembrance, the Taj Mahal becomes the literal and symbolic centerpiece of Rajiv Joseph’s new play, Guards at the Taj. In 1648, the titular characters, Humayun and Babur, stand guard facing away from the Taj Mahal, whose surrounding walls are set to come down at dawn to unveil the grand mausoleum. The Beckett-style banter that fills the idle hours of anticipation calls to mind Waiting for Godot, but the play’s light humor takes a grim turn when the pair gets asked to participate in the emperor’s unfathomably horrific scheme. Read more >>> The play runs Feb. 1 to Feb. 28 at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, 641 D St. NW. $43–$68. (202) 393-3939. Gaffney)


Belgian beer bar The Sovereign made its debut in Georgetown yesterday. The Neighborhood Restaurant Group spot aims to set itself apart from other Belgian beer hubs with a menu that focuses more on the traditional funky, dry, and sour beers from smaller brewers and less on mega-brands' beers. The bar is pouring 50 drafts and has more than 250 bottles available. The food menu includes Dutch-style mussels and lots of meats braised in beer. Also check out the bicky burger—a deep-fried beef and pork patty on an English muffin with fried onions, pickles, and bicky sauce (like a Belgian thousand island dressing). Read more and take a look at the menu on Young & Hungry. The Sovereign, 1206 Wisconsin Ave. NW. (202) 774-5875. (Jessica Sidman)


Friday: The Joe Goode Performance Group brings its latest pieceThe Resilience Project, which explores how humans cope with grief and trauma, to Rockville's American Dance Institute. 8 p.m. at 1570 East Jefferson St., Rockville. $15–$30.

Friday: Georges Bizet's classic opera gets a new setting and some lively accompaniment from the Buena Vista Social Club in the In Series' latest production, Carmen in Havana, opening tonight at Atlas Performing Arts Center. 8 p.m. at 1333 H St. NE. $23–$46. Read more To Do This Weekend: Guards at the Taj, Mel Brooks, and Two Inch Astronaut

From D.C. to Philly and Back: Gun$ Garcia Returns Home For a Pair of Parties


When DJ and underground fashionista Gun$ Garcia plays twice in a week in D.C., it's a bit of a big deal. Not only is it a homecoming of sorts for the Silver Spring native, but it further proves that the D.C. area is becoming nationally renowned as an underground-to-mainstream dance and pop music pipeline.

Tonight, Garcia joins New York City's Katie Rex, Los Angeles' Suga Shay, and local DJ The Lothario for a D.C.-based version of the trio's Factory Girls parties at Rock & Roll Hotel. On Feb. 10, Garcia returns to D.C. at U Street Music Hall along with a fellow former Washingtonians DJ Dirty South Joe, DJ Spicoli, and Magglezzz for the Trillectro-sponsored local version of the "So Far Gone" Drake dance party.

For Garcia, who now resides in Philadelphia, the homecoming is bittersweet. Read more From D.C. to Philly and Back: Gun$ Garcia Returns Home For a Pair of Parties

The Boy & The World, Reviewed


If a little kid dropped some acid, his trip might resemble one of this year’s What’s that? best animated feature Oscar nominees, The Boy & the World. The boy in question, Cuca, sees music as colorful orbs, chills on clouds, and swims through the air with a cotton ball keeping him afloat. Views both outdoors and indoors are often geometric and symmetrical—when they’re not kaleidoscopic or straight-up psychedelic. It’s fitting that the boy giggles and gasps a lot.

What Cuca doesn’t do is talk. He doesn’t even have a mouth, just a round Charlie Brown head with a few strands of hair, two long vertical strokes for eyes, and pink circles on his cheeks. Cuca resembles the rest of his world, though the adults sometimes exchange words in an unintelligible language that’s actually backward Portuguese. Read more The Boy & The World, Reviewed